Your kids are online – do you know what they’re doing?
2021-01-25 08:42 PST
Talking to friends, playing games, doing homework… being cyber bullied, sharing intimate images, getting extorted.
There’s a lot that happens online and with more kids being driven there to fulfill their need for social interaction, it’s important for parents to stay in the know about their child’s virtual presence, said Corporal Dana Napier of the Kamloops RCMP Crime Prevention Unit.
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Parents are encouraged to check-in with their kids regularly about their online activities, said Cpl. Napier.
Let them know that if they need support they can talk to a safe and trusted adult.
Since Covid 19 began, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection has experienced an increase in child sexual exploitation reports such as children sending or being sent sexual images, videos, or messages from adults.
There are a lot of great things made possible because of the internet, especially now when our face-to-face interactions are so limited, but there are also risks, said Cpl. Napier.
The good news is, there are a few simple steps parents can take to help protect their kids in the virtual world.
Below are some tips to help parents keep their kids safe online.
- Continuously check that privacy settings are on for all apps;
- Turn off location services to minimize data collection;
- Have daily conversations about online activities from a curiosity perspective;
- Let children know that if they need support they can ask a safe and trusted adult and ask them to name their trusted adults;
- Discuss age appropriate apps, games, and entertainment, as well as how to secure passwords;
- Watch for behaviour changes such as if they’re upset or secretive with online activities;
- Establish rules on how and where devices can be used and where they should be left overnight for charging;
- Get familiar with parental controls on all devices, apps including YouTube/Netflix.
For parents interested in learning more, School District 73 is offering a parent engagement session on Social Media Awareness, Digital Footprints and Cyberbullying on January 28. The event is virtual and registration is required. Please visit their website for more information.
More information about online safety can also be found at the Centre for Youth Crime Prevention - Internet Safety page, Media Smart - Internet and Mobile, and the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.
Cst. Crystal EvelynMedia Relations Officer
560 Battle Street, Kamloops, BC V2C 6N4
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